Category Archives: Eastern Church

Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 40, new major archbishop (patriarch) of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

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Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 40, is the new head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of 6 million people worldwide. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Church in communion with the See of Rome. The election happened on March 23. In Canon Law he holds the title of Major Archbishop (that is, he has the responsibility that a patriarch would have but not the title, though many in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church unofficially use the title, see canon 151 of the CCEO). The election was done by 40 bishops from around the world.

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, until now, is the Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of the Protection of the Theotokos, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Prior to his South American work, the Archbishop was the personal secretary of the former head of the Church, His Beatitude, Lubomyr, from 2002-05.

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At Shevchuk’s election he had to write a letter in his own hand to the Pope requesting communion with the Apostolic See. In accordance with canon 153 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Church reads:
1. A major archbishop is elected according to the norm of cann. 63-74.
2. After acceptance of the election, the synod of bishop of the major archepiscopal Church must notify the Roman Pontiff through a synodal letter about the canonical conduct of the election; however, the one who of is elected, in a letter signed in his own hand, must petition the confirmation of his election from the Roman Pontiff.
3. After having obtained the confirmation, the one who is elected, in the presence of the synod of bishops of the major archepiscopal Church, must make a profession of faith and promise to carry out faithfully his office; afterwards his proclamation and enthronment are to be performed. If, however, the one who is elected is not yet an ordained bishop, the enthronment cannot validly be done before he receives episcopal ordination.
4. If however the confirmation is denied, a new election is to be conducted within the time established by the Roman Pontiff.

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Béshara Raï elected new Maronite Patriarch

Beshara Rai.jpegOnly 20 years junior to the out-going patriarch, His Beatitude Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, the Maronite bishops elected today Bishop Béshara Raï, 71, as the new patriarch. He’s  77th patriarch of the Maronites; Raï takes up the See of St Peter (Peter’s first diocese before moving to Rome), adopting the name Peter. He will be known as “His Beatitude, Patriarch Béshara Peter Raï.

He succeeds Patriarch Sfeir after his 25 years of service. It is expected that Patriarch Béshara Peter will be enthroned on 25 March.
I am happy for His Beatitude’s new opportunity to serve the Church. I met him a number of years ago and he’s a wonderful person.
His Beatitude has been a priest for 43 years and a bishop for nearly 25 years and since 1990 he’s been bishop of Jbeil (Byblos). In Lebanon, the Maronite Christians number about a third of the 4 million population.

Kurt Koch to meet Kyril I

Patriarch Kyril.pngSwiss Cardinal Kurt Koch will be going to Moscow this weekend to meet Patriarch Kyril and Russian Orthodox Church leaders.

Cardinal Koch is the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, a position he’s held since July 2010; he created a cardinal in November 2010. Patriarch Kyril I was elected head of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2009.

Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, retires as Maronite leader

Sfeir.jpgToday, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the petition of His Beatitude, Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, cardinal, to retire from his pastoral leadership as the Father of Maronite Church.

The resignation was speculated a few weeks ago.
Here is the letter of Pope Benedict to His Beatitude (in French until an English translation is given).

Metropolitan Jonah takes time off to re-orient self

Jonah.JPGThe Orthodox Church in America (OCA), according to reports, has placed Metropolitan Jonah on a leave of absence. The Synod of the OCA acted swiftly to seeming abuse of power. The Metropolitan Jonah, it seems, is facing mounting questions not only over issues of style of management but anger issues.

The news is found here. This is distressing given all the problems the OCA has faced in recent years.
In his words, His Beatitude speaks about the requested lenten quies.
The OCA news of changes
Being a bishop –and for that matter, a priest– in this era is tough. One can’t lead if the sheep don’t want to follow. Some see clearly what is needed for clear testimony and action so that the lex orandi tradition is not trampled. Deeper conversion to Christ and living a coherent life of faith is not easy when sin is rampant. Disconnected from reality is not a virtue for the Christian Church, Catholic or Orthodox. When His Beatitude was elected as head of the OCA just over two years ago there was much hope for good leadership in the OCA after the sexual and financial scandals of clergy and laity alike. His very addresses were received with enthusiasm because he spoke with authority. I, for one, said “Finally, someone who gets it.” Could the troubles faced by Metropolitan Jonah be the result of the negative aspects of American culture to engrained in attitudes of members of the Synod coupled with a exaggerated sense in the capacity to change human frailties?
We pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace of prudence for the OCA. May the all-holy Virgin Mary intercede.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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